I must have driven by the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge twenty times or so since I've taken up birdwatching because it is such a long drive home from Santa Rosa and I’m generally in a rush. I nearly did that on this trip too, but since I was alone I decided to stop and check it out, figuring that, if need be, I could spend the night nearby.
I'm certainly glad I did, and I'm sure I'll be stopping by many more times in the future.
I saw a number of birds that I've seen before, but rarely. Although the great egret is becoming more and more common in the Pacific Northwest, I very seldom see a Snowy Egret
which has always seemed the more elegant of the two egrets we see regularly.
I also enjoyed seeing this male Gadwall,
and several Northern Pintails.
I've only seen one other Eared Grebe
and that was in the middle of a rainstorm in Malheur. Unfortunately it wasn't in breeding colors. Although it’s the most common grebe in America, the Pacific Northwest appears to be outside its normal range.